Philo Vance was the detective creation of S. S. Van Dine first published in the mid 1920s. Vance, in the original books, is an intellectual so highly refined he seems he might be ghostwritten by P. G. Wodehouse. Take this quote from The Benson Murder Case, 1924, as Vance pontificates in his inimitable way: "That's your fundamental error, don't y' know. Every crime is witnessed by outsiders, just as is every work of art. The fact that no one sees the criminal, or the artist, actu'lly at work, is wholly incons'quential."
Thankfully, the radio series uses only the name, and makes Philo a pretty normal, though very intelligent and extremely courteous gumshoe. Jose Ferrer played him in 1945. From 1948-1950, the fine radio actor Jackson Beck makes Vance as good as he gets. George Petrie plays Vance's constantly impressed public servant, District Attorney Markham. Joan Alexander is Ellen Deering, Vance's secretary and right-hand woman.
The organist for the show is really working those ivories, and fans of old time radio organ will especially enjoy this series. Perhaps one reason the organist "pulls out all the stops" is because there seems to be little, if any, sound effects on the show.
Philo Vance, the radio series, does pay homage to the original books in that both were, even in their own time, a bit out of date and stilted.
From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
If you are interested in preserving old time radio, you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.
This is the Single Episode Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.
Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.
September 12, 2017 Subject:
As for the show, I love it; however, what's with all the mistakenly listed running times of less than three minutes? Actually, all of the shows run for their full lengths!
November 22, 2016 Subject:
albie - if you've run out....
consider trying a new take on an old genre. Decoder Ring Theater's Black Jack Justice is a really good reimagining/homage to the 1940s hard-boiled detective radio shows. Excellent writing, and digital sound quality. Like most radio shows, vintage or modern, the first ones aren't the best. It gets better and better as the actors settle in:
November 21, 2016 Subject:
Philo Vance - Single Episodes
I've been listening to this show recently, it's OK not great but listenable.I've got the same problem as many here after 17 years I've run out of the shows I know and am trying new ones, from time to time I find one.I'm mainly interested in the crime/detective type programs.
October 24, 2015 Subject:
I'm not used to shows without ads or announcers or a melodic theme. The series has good plotting but seems to have been made on a budget. Organ music is a bit jarring. Acting is good, all in all above par for detective shows of the era.
May 14, 2015 Subject:
Philo Is Great
I have never been a fan of the old dumb cop vs detective theme, and that is one of the reasons why I like Philo Vance so much. Philo is a smart detective, not given to emotional outbursts and works well with the police.
May 13, 2015 Subject:
I love this program
I love a detective story this is entertaining worth listening to.
May 3, 2013 Subject:
I wish these were better
For context, I'm a big Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade OTR fan. This series just doesn't work for me. I listened to a few episodes, and the quality of the writing just isn't up to Marlowe/Spade snuff, and nor is the acting. The cop in the series is of the Hollywood variety - painfully inept. Every episode I listened to ran the same stereotype into the ground. I wanted to like this series, but just can't recommend it.
January 4, 2013 Subject:
Use link for OTRR Certified Set
The zipped download file on this page expands to only 3 episodes. You can listen to all series episodes individually. To download all episodes use the OTRR Certified Set link in the Notes section. Takes you to an OTRR page where you can download 653.8 MB and 666.9 MB Zip files. I'll rate the series after listening to more episodes. Not sure how I'll respond to OTR with a great organist but few sound effects.
January 4, 2013 Subject:
For some reason the majority of episodes are 3 minures long --not enough to get to the intro.
October 29, 2008 Subject:
I would love to review Philo Vance as a whole but so far have been unable to complete a download of all files so I can listen off-computer. Get about 130 mb and then an error message the file cannot be expanded. If this happened once, I could understand; but it has happened with every download attempt. Anyone else experience the same problem?